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blood donor recruiting

Coaching sessions can mean the difference between successful blood donor recruitment and unsuccessful blood donor recruitment. Our Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) depend on Formal Coaching Sessions in order to improve and enhance their skills. These sessions should be Durable, Actionable, Straightforward, and Helpful. You may remember these using the acronym “DASH”.

  • Durable: Written records from Formal Coaching should be easy to understand—not just at the moment but also in the future. Supervisors should spell out details and avoid abbreviations. A written record is durable if a tele-recruiter can understand it 5 days after the session just as easily as during the session.
  • Actionable: The tele-recruiter must have a crystal clear understanding of how to act upon the advice received and the benefits of doing so.
  • Straightforward: The tele-recruiter should understand each word, line, instruction, and piece of advice that is offered. The supervisor must be adept at recognizing confusion and at clarifying when needed.
  • Helpful: This is not just a “feel good” meeting. The content of the discussion must be honest and useful so that the tele-recruiter can use it to score more wins.

What kinds of tools do you use in your Formal Coaching Sessions?


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Platelets are the part of your blood used to control bleeding; burn patients, trauma patients, and many surgeries require the use of platelets. When our Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) are making blood donor recruitment calls, some donors question why platelet donations are so important, and there are a plethora of reasons why.

The Importance of Platelets

For instance, there aren’t as many people who have the time to donate platelets, the shelf life of platelets is shorter, and many patients will need a platelet donation while going through different types of treatments.

Platelets only have a shelf life of about 5 days, are very fragile, and need to constantly be in motion, so the need for platelet donations is an everyday concern. Although you can donate them every 7 days, some donors don’t have enough time in their schedule to go once a week. Some people have a very open schedule, while others barely have any time to come in to donate a standard whole blood donation (which takes about 45 minutes to an hour).

The Differences Between Platelet & Whole Blood Donations

For a platelet donation, it can take up to 2 hours depending on the donor. With the people who have very busy schedules, that can cut down on the amount of platelet donations we receive, therefore potentially affecting patients in need.

A lot of cancer patients, as well as transplant patients, can use up to 10 units of platelets per day. For example, a cancer patient could use 6-8 units a day for 4-6 weeks. Comparing a platelet donation to a whole blood donation, it takes 6 separated whole blood donations to equal a single platelet donation. With that being said, it would take six different people’s donations to get one unit of platelets to a patient when they can use up to 10 in one day! When someone donates a single platelet donation, it can help keep the blood supply at a safe level while reducing the exposure of multiple donors to one single patient.

Platelet donations are very important to the community and can be used to help a multitude of people. So if you can find 2 hours of your day, you can help those who have had cancer, received an organ transplant, or were involved in a traumatic accident. You can also help to keep the blood supply at a safe level.

When’s the last time you donated platelets?

Photo Credit: http://www.utahblood.org/donor-programs/platelet-donor.html

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Segmentation for blood donor recruitment is essential. It allows for calling to be more strategic and contacting a donor more likely for our Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs). Consider the three following segmentation themes when putting together your next strategy.

Segmenting By Phone Type

Segmenting your database by whether the phone number on record is a day, evening, or cell number allows your tele-recruiters or predictive dialer to choose the best time of day to place the call.

The past 30 years have seen the rise of the mobile phone and decline of the landline. This ongoing shift has significantly impacted people’s behavior. It has changed the way we carry out nearly every aspect of daily life.

The increase of mobile phone usage has also significantly changed communication with donors.

Segmenting By Donation Type

Segmenting your database by the type of donation each donor should give allows your telerecruiters to only call donors who are appropriate to your current campaign. It also allows your script to match a donor’s attributes and the donor center’s need with the proper conversation.

The script should consider a donor’s gender (for platelet donations), blood type, and last three donation types.

Additionally, when calling donors for double red cell or platelet donations, a flag should be added to the donor’s profile if he or she doesn’t meet the requirements to give an automated donation. Donors with this flag on their records will then be recruited for whole blood only.

Segmenting Donors By Prime Contact Time

Calling donors at the prime time is critical. Calling when they are sleeping, making dinner, or working will frustrate them as well as your tele-recruiters. It will also lower productivity rates and waste precious resources.

Your database needs to record the times when prior conversations with donors have taken place. This allows your dialer to call donors only at appropriate times. It also allows you to determine your area’s “prime time” for staffing purposes.

How do you segment your donors?

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As a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) for Incept, I can say that I have been through many different call scenarios when it comes to professionally recruiting blood donors. What I’m here to talk about today is how focusing on the actual quality of the call can make all the difference when it comes to recruiting blood donors over the phone.

One thing I always keep in mind when making calls is the fact that I have a very small window of time to make the most positive impression I can on whoever it is that picks up on the other end of the line. First impressions are everything and so is the ability to be able to audibly feel out who it is you’re speaking with.

Get A Feel For Who You Are Talking To

One of the easiest things you can do as a Conversational Marketing Expert (CME) is be ready to emulate the donor.

If I am speaking to an elderly women who has been a lifetime donor for the blood bank I’m calling for, I’m going to want to speak more clearly, with more volume, more deliberately, and in a way that makes her feel comfortable to speak to me. If I am speaking with a donor who happens to be a businessman in downtown Chicago, I’m going to speak a little faster and try to be more direct about why I am calling. When speaking with a donor who has donated considerably and has a high level of loyalty, I am going to place most of my emphasis on acknowledging, recognizing, and appreciating their past support before asking them to donate again.

The key to building any sort of relationship between us as recruiters and the donors we talk to is always acknowledging and showing legitimate appreciation for any type of past donation. Saying “thank you” to a donor for their past support not only shows them that we do care about their efforts to help out, but it will also serve as a tool to establish rapport and get them to listen to your pitch.

  • New donors or donors who have recently made their first donation – When calling donors who might be new donors to the blood center we are calling for, I think it is of the utmost importance for a CME to go the extra mile to not only be incredibly appreciative, but also be available and open to answer any questions that that donor might have about their experience. Making these folk feel valuable is crucial to receiving their future support, which, ultimately, is the goal. We want to really drive home the fact that the blood bank we are representing truly relies on the volunteer blood donations of individuals like them.
  • Young donors (high school and college-aged) – Much like anyone who is a first time donor or a new donor, we need to be appreciative of what these younger donors have done by donating blood. We want to focus on speaking to them in a non-condescending manner (for example, avoid trying to talk to them like they are younger people or kids) and more in a way that promotes their future support. It truly does make all the difference to interact with them this way. If you are signing them up for a college blood drive, don’t be afraid to ask what their major is. Be considerate of their class schedule and ask them what time works out around their study time or class schedule to donate. You’d be surprised how often a busy college or high school student is willing to consider donating if just asked to do so. Emphasizing text message reminders for these folks is a great way to convey how easy it is to set an appointment.
  • Middle-aged donors (parents, business professionals, etc.) – The donors within this age range are most likely parents with families leading busy lives. For many of these people, donating blood is simply an issue of finding time between the many different responsibilities of running a household or working around their professional obligations. Acknowledge this. The key to speaking with these folks is to acknowledge that even though they might be busy, they are doing a great service to the local community by visiting their respective blood bank. Convey how easy it is to schedule even a week out from the current date and how they will receive a reminder call the day before just because we know plans can change. Many times folks will be willing to work with you and, if they are a long-time blood donor, might even ask you to wait while they check their calendar for the best date to come in. These are folks who, without a doubt, you will need solidly second attempt or your success will be limited. Many of these folks donate while at work or another sort of mobile drive. Be a step ahead by reviewing their previous donation history and looking for that same drive to see if it is available.
  • Elderly donors – Elderly blood donors are some of the most frequent blood donors. I have seen a good amount of blood donors of elderly age around the century mark for lifetime donations. That is quite impressive. All you need to do when speaking with an elderly donor is show them an old-school sense of respect while talking to them. Make them feel valuable for their contributions to their blood center. You should focus on speaking slower and with more volume. Voice inflection will be of huge importance when trying to be clear in your explanations and pitch. This age group of donors will naturally have more medical issues and limitations when it comes to donating blood, so never forget to be adamant about giving these donors the eligibility number for their blood center depending on their circumstances.

Why Does It Matter?

When it comes to blood donor recruitment over the telephone, the success of any Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) relies not on the ability to be able to read a script, but rather on the ability to translate and transpose different parts of the script in their own ways. The key is to sound less like you are reading a script and more  like you are simply talking.

Stay tuned for more expert advice and blood donor recruitment tips.

Image Credit: http://buildingthebridge.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/guy_on_phone.jpg

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This blog post comes to us from Incept’s Erica Heath.

Some of the most important aspects of influencing company atmosphere are how well you build trust, communication, and rapport with the employees. In an atmosphere such as Incept, it is important to take these things into consideration when building a team. Strong teams are comprised of a strong leader and employees who have excellent communication skills with one another.

A good team should run like a well-oiled machine—the members should take accountability for their actions and the actions of one another, as well as build each other up in times of need. Having a strong team can decrease company turnover while also increasing the quality of production. In order to build strong teams it may be necessary to do team-building exercises.

3 Great Team-Building Exercises

The following are some exercises that can be used to create better rapport among your team members:

  • Two Truths and a Lie – Go around the room and have each CME state two things that are true about themselves and one thing that is a lie. Then have the team members guess which one of the items isn’t true. This game helps everyone get to know each other better.
  • Common/Uncommon Interests – Break the CMEs into pairs by having them count off in numbers. Tell the CMEs that (with their partners) they should come up with a list of three things they both have in common and two things that they do not have in common. The answers should exclude work, body parts, clothing, and the like, to encourage learning more in-depth things about each other. Tell the CMEs that one person should take notes, and the other person should be prepared to present the items to the group. This helps the CMEs make connections with people they wouldn’t normally get to talk to.
  • Four Squares - Give each of the CMEs a sheet of paper and have them fold the paper into four squares. Come up with a topic for each square and have them draw pictures that describes themselves for each topic. For example, here are some sample topics: favorite sport, dream job, if you were an animal what would you be, etc. The drawings don’t have to be detailed; they can be as simple as stick figures. Give the CMEs a few minutes to draw their pictures and then have them show their drawings and explain how they pertain to their interests.

These team-building exercises normally work better with CMEs who don’t know each other that well. However, these exercises can also work with a team that needs to reconnect. Remember, there are a lot of team-building exercises that can be used to create a strong team, and strong teams produce better results—meaning more lives saved!

What are you doing to build up your team?

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Numbers alone are not effective. They need to be applied to affect change. When supervisors share conversational quality audit reports with tele-recruiters in brief meetings (no more than 10 minutes), they have opportunities to congratulate tele-recruiters for things they did well, teach them to improve areas where they missed quality standards, and keep them motivated to continually grow. These measures ensure that conversational quality remains as important to tele-recruiters as it is to you.

A Step-By-Step Quality Audit Discussion

Let’s assume supervisor Demetrius is holding a Quality Audit discussion with tele-recruiter Janice, who received an audit score of 90%. The Quality Audit discussion might flow like this:

  1. Demetrius allows Janice to make herself unavailable for calls.
  2. Demetrius sits down with Janice, preferably in a neutral location away from the phones, to review her quality scores with her in detail.
  3. After presenting Janice’s Quality Audit Report to her, they review the specific things that caused her to receive 90 points. He congratulates her and reinforces her positive actions.
  4. Demetrius and Janice review the specific things that kept her from receiving the other 10 points. He clearly explains exactly how particular parts of conversations affected her score.
  5. After discussing these violations, Demetrius explains how Janice should handle similar situations to avoid future deductions.
  6. Janice and Demetrius engage in exploratory conversation, question/answer dialogue, and perhaps role playing.
  7. Janice is now clear on how to improve, so she sets performance and quality goals for her next Quality Audit.
  8. Janice signs and dates a copy of her audit.
  9. Demetrius photocopies the signed Quality Audit, and gives a copy to Janice so she can continue to refer to it as a reminder of the areas in which she must improve.
  10. Finally, Demetrius files the completed Quality Audit and notes in Janice’s personnel file.

How are you using audit reports to have meaningful conversations with your tele-recruiters?

Photo Credit: http://www.careeranalysts.co.nz/for_business/coaching.htm

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Some donor recruitment conversations will end in appointments, while others will not. Each one requires its own closing. Examples of how each conversation should end are as follows:

Closing Calls That End In Appointments

Donors who schedule donation appointments should feel good about their decisions.

  • Show renewed appreciation for the donor once again helping to save lives.
  • Be certain the donor knows everything necessary to ensure a successful donation, including pre-donation instructions like eating an iron-rich meal, drinking plenty of fluids, and bringing a photo ID.
  • Confirm the date, time, location, and address of the appointment.
  • Provide a phone number to call with any questions before the appointment.

Calls That Do Not End In Appointments

Donors who don’t schedule appointments should also feel good about their decisions.

  • Be positive. Ending the conversation on a positive note sets the tone for the next interaction and maintains a positive relationship between the donor and blood center.
  • Help the donor feel like they made the right decision. Show empathy. They may be ill, going through a difficult time, or simply having a bad day. Show that the blood center cares.
  • Open the door for future donations, should the donor’s situation change.
  • Provide a phone number or website to self-schedule in the future.
  • Before hanging up, let the donor know that the blood center appreciates their previous contributions.

How do you differentiate your closing statements?

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Thank-you calls help to establish respectful, long-term relationships and build loyalty with those who selflessly donate life-saving gifts.

Timeliness is Crucial

Call donors the day after their donation to thank them for their generosity and reinforce how important their donations are to the community. Use personalized scripting for first-time donors, automated donors, and donors with special blood types and antigens.

Sincerity is Too

It is important that thank-you calls strengthen donor relationships without asking for anything in return. People do not like being called upon only when they are needed to give something. Simple thank-you calls let donors know you care about them. In addition to saying thank you, ensure that the donation experience was a positive one. If you have a donor loyalty program, recap details on how to check status and redeem perks as well.

If you reach a voice mail or answering machine, leave a brief thank-you message and a contact number to call with any follow-up questions or concerns. If there is no answer of any sort, try again the next day. But remember, you want to share your appreciation; you don’t want to become an annoyance with numerous phone calls.

How do  you thank your blood donors?

Photo Credit: http://turningpoint6.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Thank-You.jpg

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If you know your prime times, staffing at the appropriate times is a relatively simple decision. But all too often blood donor recruitment departments are staffed from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. because that is when tele-recruiters or managers prefer to work. That, however, is typically the least effective time of day to tele-recruit. Our experience indicates that attempts to reach donors after 5:00 p.m. are 11% more successful. Set your Contact Center’s hours according to your donors’ preferences.

Identifying Ideal Staff Levels via Dials Per Hour

How many tele-recruiters to staff is also a relatively straightforward decision. You will need to know your Dials Per Hour. Here is the formula:

Simply multiply your Dials Per Hour times the number of days per week that your contact center operates. Then divide that number by 8 hours, which represents one Full Time Equivalent (FTE). That will tell you the number of tele-recruiters to staff.

If you suspect that your Dials Per Hour is low, look closely at whether your tele-recruiters are spending longer than necessary on phone calls and also how they are using non-productive time.

How are you staffing you blood donor recruitment center?

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Your organization is nothing without donors, and a large portion of your donors won’t exist without your tele-recruiters. So, your tele-recruiters are your blood donor recruitment organization’s most important asset.

That said, many blood centers continue to treat investments in employees as expenses. They gladly spend large sums of money keeping up buildings, beautifying grounds, and updating computer systems; they pay high salaries for top organizational leaders; and they reluctantly (and often haphazardly) allocate only leftover resources to improving their front line assets – the human capital known as tele-recruiters.

You Get Out What You Put In

Every penny and every hour you strategically invest in helping tele-recruiters become as effective at recruiting donors as they can be increases the financial health and longevity of your organization and saves additional lives.

Accept at the front end that formal coaching requires significant investments of both time and money. What makes these investments worthwhile are the proven (and consistent) results they produce.

If done right, coaching is an employee benefit, and good tele-recruiters look forward to it. Not a day should go by without each tele-recruiter being coached or developed in some way.

What does coaching look like at your blood donor recruitment center?

Photo Credit: http://www.avca.org/education-resources/coaching-education/

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